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Doubts grow over future of sidelined ntl COO

# 2 January 2006, 18:22 by Frank

It appears that ntl may have now have a surplass of senior executives due to he appointment of Stephen Burch as chief executive of ntl, which has in turn has put a question mark over the future of recently appointed chief operating officer, Neil Berkett.

Berkett joined ntl only in September from Lloyds TSB, where he was managing director of distribution. Insiders say Berkett had been due to take responsibility for ntl’s merger with Telewest once the deal was cleared by regulators, but this job has now gone to Burch, whose appointment was announced in December 2005.

Burch, a veteran of the American cable industry, where he oversaw the merger of Comcast with AT&T Broadband, was recruited to head the planned integration with Telewest and the takeover of Virgin Mobile. The appointment is understood to be to allay the fears of US investors, who wanted someone more experienced with cable mergers.

TMCnet quotes an industry source as saying: “I think Berkett thought this was his job, but the American investors clearly wanted someone that they knew and trusted to deliver this merger.”

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